Recently a petition appearing on the website change.org was directed to members of the American Nurses Association (ANA). Titled “ANA: No More Staffing Committees, We Want a National Nurse-to-Patient Ratio Law,” it called for action and urged readers to neither join nor renew membership to the Association.
The blaming of the ANA here for the short-staffing issue does not help in addressing this crucial topic.
The ANA was behind the recent “Safe Staffing Act” in Congress, but the bill failed to be passed. Now more than ever, the ANA needs your membership so that it actually can promote this type of legislation.
While I acknowledge the efforts of those petitioning this through change.org, it is really just a mere list of signatures. Signing this petition will not cause actual change!
To create actual change, the more powerful method is for you to contact your legislators on both the State and Federal levels to let them know you want safe staffing where you work. Informing them of what happens when you are short-staffed on your unit and how patients who suffer will be a much more effective way of garnering their attention.
Nurses take DC from Show Me Your Stethescope has an initiative called “Save Pat.” Pat stands for (Patient Accidental Tragedy). Pat represents the extra patient who is considered one too many. He or she is the patient you do not have enough time for. It may be the patient who does not get changed or turned as often as they should, who has to wait to be assisted to the bathroom or even possibly overlooked when medications are distributed. In short, Pat is the patient who most likely is NOT getting the attention they so direly need.
Every nurse knows a Pat and realizes that no one would want Pat to be a family member. A mannequin named Pat will be traveling the country to educate communities on the effects of short staffing in their local healthcare facilities. #SavePAT
You can help by talking to your State and Federal legislators about this important health and safety matter. You can go online to see who your State Senator and Representative are by are typing into a search engine (1) the name of your State and (2) the words “state legislators.” This should bring up a list of websites in which you should be able to locate a listing of all the Senators and Representatives including the ones that represent your area.
For your Federal level, you can find who represents you in the Senate and the House by going to http://www.whoismyrepresentative.com and simply typing in your zip code.
By contacting your State and Federal legislators, you are taking a definitive stand to become part of the solution.
Several years ago, along with a number of other nurses, I participated in a meeting with a person running for my State Senate in Indiana. We discussed what issues we saw in health care and on those, which we needed help. He was very gracious and understanding while really appreciating our insight into what we believe were the problems … and he wanted to hear our solutions.
So, don’t be afraid to contact your legislators in both the State and Federal chambers, as they would be thrilled to hear from you.
We are all in this together and our legislatures are here to help us. Have you contacted your legislature? What kind of experience did you have? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.